After the initial wardrobe culling as part of Project 333 was complete, I put the new minimalist wardrobe test for three weeks.

It was more than the week I thought I needed to test it however, Santiago decide to play four seasons is three weeks which left me apparel challenged to say the least. It meant my winter boots and thick jackets had to make a brief comeback.

In addition, a few items no longer fit me properly so I may have to re-evaluate whether some are actually worth keeping in the three-month wardrobe.

On top of that, I also had to attend a wedding which I did not anticipate before starting the project. But, I successfully maneuvered the situation [proudly pats self on back]. I used a dress I had packed away and borrowed appropriate shoes and a jacket from a friend. No shopping required!

In summary, I survived remarkably well with one weather hiccup but still culled the wardrobe back further so I am now down to less than 40.

So, what do you learn in a few weeks after implementing a minimalist wardrobe?

Below are my three key insights after the three-week test.

We actually don’t need that many items of clothing

Why do we hold onto so many items of clothing? There aren’t enough days or occasions in a month to wear them all yet they unnecessarily occupy space in our homes (and space in our minds as we ponder what to wear).

My light bulb moment? I had half a wardrobe of clothes at a friend’s house and I could only remember one thing that I left there…a pair of exercise shorts. I have since culled all those items and put them in the donate pile – with the exception of the shorts!

It’s all in our heads

I found that the key to this challenge was all in the mind. You have to ask yourself why you’re keeping each item. The reason we have a lot of unworn clothes is because we are so good at giving ourselves reasons to keep them.

Below are the personal reasons I was discovered but Project 333 has a great post on eliminating 33 items!

  • I’d bought the item within the last year.
  • I’d hardly worn the item (ironic much?).
  • It has some kind of sentimental value.
  • Doesn’t fit – too small (in case I ever feel comfortable enough to wear it).
  • Doesn’t fit – too big. I don’t trust that I will stay as fit/healthy/skinny as I am right now so I keep these ‘just in case’. (This is obviously great material for another blog post.)
  • I’ll need this for when I return. This one’s a good one. When I return to Santiago within the next few months, the weather will be different and I will have to do Project 333 again for a different season. However, in the meantime, do I store most of the clothes that (to be honest) are not of particularly high quality or of such great value to me? As I mentioned in the Part 1 blog, I don’t like shopping and this challenge is part of my journey to achieve a minimalist wardrobe. However, it is inevitable that I will bring over some clothes from Oz, and that I will most likely have to buy a few more items when I return. But, I decided that I will implement a new approach in order to reduce how often I have to venture into the dreaded malls.

Invest and shop strategically

After doing this challenge, I realized that my approach to shopping has to be like other things in my life – highly strategic and organised. I need to invest more time (and spend my money more wisely) to be more productive in how I shop. Many minimalists before me have preached buying fewer more quality items and I agree but as an anti-shopper there is more to it than just this.

Therefore, here is my…

Shopping-hater’s guide to the perfect minimalist wardrobe

  1. Love list – Make a list of the items in your wardrobe that you love and will keep for the three months.
  2. Missing/complementary items – Write a list of items that you are missing and would complement what you already have in your wardrobe. For example, if you have a fabulous pair of orange work pants that you just love, don’t go buy a red work shirt – even if it looks amazing it. If you have colourful dresses, buy a pair of black leggings. (This sort of logic might seem obvious to some but needs to be reiterated to someone like me!)
  3. Stick to the list when shopping. Just do it. No matter how impatient you are when in the queue. No matter how much you fall in love with something that is not on the list. You’ve done the prep and research so trust the list.
  4. Spend time as needed – take your time in the stores and change rooms to check the item. Check the material, quality, move around, sit down, jump up, get a friend’s opinion. I tend to try on an item and say “that’ll do” which causes problems later as I have more than one of something that I don’t ever want to wear. If you need a pair of black jeans, make sure you go to different stores and try different styles. This way you will have one great pair in your minimalist wardrobe; that you will actually wear and feel great in. And most important, if you don’t find the right pair, leave without buying and come back another day. Just walk away.
  5. Spend money effectively – when you find that perfect item, invest in the item that you feel comfortable in, looks good on and is of good quality – with all of these factors checked off, it should last the longest.

> Like this post? Read more

Minimalism for your wardrobe: Project 333, Part 1 (the cull)
(Sorry) I’m not sorry
Nirvana – reaching inner peace in 10 days (?)
Take 2: in pursuit of…?
Crazy or Brave?

> Shout outs

Check out more about this project.
If living with 33 items too much for you, try the reverse – eliminate 33 items with some of the suggestions on their list (you’ll giggle at some of these because their true, I promise).

Also see #Project333 on Instagram.

> Connect with me

Have you completed Project 333? Tell me about your experience or post your advice for others by leaving a comment.

Have another minimalist challenge that I should try? Leave a comment with your suggestion.

You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter.